Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today's reading...Rejoice in the Lord

I have been reading a chapter everyday in the Book of Mormon for 4 weeks now. It has really changed everything. I have always been a regular scripture studier/reader, but have lost the consistency that I like. Once I took the challenge from my Bishop to be "consistent" and read one chapter everyday, it has been really fulfilling and I've been learning a lot from them.  Combined with my institute class, I have been able to understand war, Israel, Judah, the lost 10 tribes, the Jews and so much more. It is ironic that I'm at the prophecies of Isaiah and he is talking about the second coming and the return of the lost tribes and that the Jews will get Jerusalem back.  When you understand it, it makes so much more sense and is really a testament of the truth of the Book of Mormon and much more. I particularly liked the scriptures today that I read.  They brought peace to my heart.  That the Lord really is in control and that our job is to have him be the head of our lives and all will work out. When the destruction comes (as it has been coming a lot lately) if we are obedient His wrath will not be upon us, but will save us from harm, if we follow Him and have been following His servants the prophets.

I particularly liked these words today that I read in 2 Nephi 22:

1 aAnd in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will atrust, and not be afraid; for the Lord bJehovah is my cstrength and my dsong; he also has become my salvation.
3 Therefore, with joy shall ye draw awater out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall ye say: aPraise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 aSing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.
6 aCry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

In verse 1, I am constantly amazed at how many times the Lord turns away His anger when we haven't done our part or what's right and it takes us a long time to recognize His hand or to accept His will, atonement etc.  He is always wanting us to come unto Him and be saved in Him, but won't ever make us do anything. He only allows us the choice to do it and then we do and we believe what verse 2 says, that God is our Salvation and so we trust in Him and we aren't afraid of our fears, becuase Christ is the strength we find when we are just too weak on our own. We sing a song of redeeming love, because we have found hope in Christ and in doing so He can become our Salvation. He already paid the price for sin, but it doesn't give us any comfort unless we accept it.

I have always struggled to understand the Isaiah chapters, but this is the first time that I understand it and that I crave to read my consistent one (or more) chapter (s) a day.  I have enjoyed it and feel the Spirit in the morning, when I put it first and do what's right from the get go in my day. It gives me the confidence I need to know that I'm doing something to be better and put forth effort to do as my Bishop has asked me to and it feels good to be obedient. Obedience is the highest law of the heavens as I learned from my ever faithful mission president.

  "I, the Lord, am abound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no bpromise." Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

I for sure want His promises!  I'm trying to be obedient so I will get all that He has to offer.  And man, does He offer a lot! I love it! I love the Lord. I love the gospel and feel so blessed to know what I know.

  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
James 1:5-6

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dating...oh, the joy!

December 2, 2011
So today was a really busy, funny day. I had a friend who I wanted to set up with this guy…things worked out kind of, but on the flip side I also had a date so that it would be a double date.  Around 5:45ish I realized that I better get hopping because I had curlers in my hair and spaghetti just getting done on the stove, but didn’t want it to sit for too long because then it turns all soggy etc…Well, I took the spaghetti off the stove and realized that I couldn’t find a strainer big enough for it and have burnt myself way too many times using the lid as the way to block water from coming out…so I used the only strainer I could find which was  a little larger than my fist (very effective!!) and in the process all of the spaghetti went into the strainer and straight down into the disposal…awesome I thought as I burned my hand trying to salvage some of it!!!  Just then the doorbell rang!  It was my date! I looked at the time and as I cleared out the disposal, I remembered that I had possibly told him the wrong time. We had jumped back and forth so many times between setting up the date for 6, 6:30 and 7 that I didn’t really couldn’t remember what the official time was! Turned out I told 2 people 6 and one 6:30pm.   Oops!  So there I am burnt hand, no spaghetti and curlers in my hair, make-up not yet on!!!  I run to the door hoping it was the other girl and not my date. So I go to the front door (too short to see through the peep hole) I jump up and look through the circle window. Right as I jumped up he turned around just in time to see me.  He totally laughed (nice first impression) and I opened the door a crack and said, “Hang on.  Give me five minutes.” He said, “I can come back later if you want.”  I said, “No.  It’s okay.  Just give me 5 minutes.”  I ran upstairs and started ripping out my curlers and realized that I hadn’t had the curlers in long enough which was resulting in my hair not turning out cute at all…I made a quick decision right then and there, “If this guy is going to like me, he’s going to have to like me with or without curlers and realize that life happens and there’s no spaghetti and his date did use curlers to get her hair curly and doesn’t wake up with make –up on!” And so I walked downstairs with 90% of the curlers in and by then of course the other date was there, because I had told both guys the wrong time and not the girl.  Oops!  So when I answered the door I said, “I’m sorry, but welcome to a moment in real life curlers and all! And the spaghetti all just went down the drain!” I proceeded to tell them what had happened and that I was sorry and that this is kind of the real me and how life just happens sometime (I’ll have to insert my date about the car battery that happened about 2 months ago, later...I inserted it below).  They both laughed, accepted it and after my date found out that curlers are not obsolete, we moved on with our night and had a very nice time eating spaghetti (I made some more noodles) and burnt garlic bread (gotta watch those broilers while putting on your make-up!) and playing pictionary.  I learned a few new terms that I didn’t know, like some guy who burnt Rome (I guess I didn’t learn it very well) but the other girl who is very intelligent, learned from me who Jacques Cousteau is!  It was a fulfilling night and let’s just suffice it to say that he wasn’t too scared off because he asked for a second date last week.  I figure if you’re going to date and get to know people, you might as well really get to know them.

Sometime in October...
I had a date planned for bowling on a Thursday at 7pm. I walked out to my car after work at 6.  I had left my lights on one too many times (the little beeping noise doesn't work in my car, so sometimes I don't remember to turn off my lights).  My battery was completely dead. Not just dead, but dead dead.  So I called my friend who was on her way home.  She came by, but since the battery was completely dead, it was worthless!  I told her to go home as her baby was needing to be fed and I would figure it out.  I called my date (it was now about 6:45pm, 15 min til my date was to be at my house!) who rides a motorcycle, so of course he couldn't answer the phone while riding!  I left him a message.  In the meantime a really nice guy was on his way home from work and he stopped to help out.  We got the battery out and then my date arrived on his motorcycle. We had to bring the battery to the nearest auto parts store and get it tested.  There I was on the motorcycle with the battery on my lap, holding onto it so that it wouldn't fall as we rode on redwood road.  It was pretty funny and my date was way chill.  So, I bought a new battery, we returned and installed it. By then it was like 8:30pm.  He still wanted to go bowling, but I just wanted to eat something and wash my hands!  We ended up getting Betos and ice cream, eating at home and watching Friends and then talked for like 2 hours.  It was really a great date.  He was totally chill and it was great because, sometimes (as previously mentioned) real life happens.  That is what I mentioned to him as I was riding on the back of his motorcycle saying, "Thank you for doing this."  He said it was fine.  I said that it was kind of fun to have a "real life" experience on a date, cause this is what real life is all about.  He was happy to help.   Below is the picture of the guy at the auto parts store testing my old battery.

Those kinds of real dates are fun!  It's hard to date these days...so many miscommunications, misunderstood or unknown expectations...I just try to play it safe by being real and hope it's enough...I guess some day it will stick and we'll see what happens!  Here's to dating (well, not really) and here's the link to a great talk on why we date. http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-225-4,00.html  Because there's an end reason to why we do it.
 Said President Harold B. Lee: "Pure womanhood plus priesthood means exaltation. But womanhood without priesthood, or priesthood without pure womanhood doesn't spell exaltation." 
Working on getting to that exaltation part...speaking of which, I was in doing sealing last Saturday in the Temple.  I haven't ever felt the Spirit like that while doing sealings.  It was so sweet to feel and understand more than I ever have, covenants that are made in sacred temples.  I was amazed and have looked toward marriage with a different perspective than I have before.  Amazing how words change things, hearts and feelings, yet represent something so much deeper.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Help...

Thoughts on life today...

So I have just spent the last 45 min (I was only allotting myself 20 min, but went over because it's a hard book to put down) reading "The Help". I'm not too far into it, but have gotten far enough, that the secret meeting to help write the manuscript have begun between Aibileen and Skeeter.  The whole time my body has been tense, because they are doing it in secret...in secret from what I keep asking myself? From people who think that blacks are inferior to whites.  I have been amazed and sick because of the way that the people judge and treat one another. It is amazing to me that even in today's society we judge and criticize on a regular basis (myself included). I recently took on a challenge to not be critical for a solid 24 hour period. I have done this before and it has taken me up to 7 days to be able to complete the task. I got the idea from John Lund in some of his marriage seminars.

Well, the other day in my hardest PE class full of 9th graders who often don't agree that the activity I have planned is "fun" enough for them. I have no idea some days how to please them, which results in me getting frustrated with them. Well, I told myself and a few of my students my new goal!  I had to start my stop watch over about 5 times in that period alone and multiple times since. It has been a week and one of my students asked how it was going...I said, "It's not! I can't do it right now. I think I'm too stressed.  Too much going on to not be critical." When I said those words, I thought to myself, "What is wrong with me that I can't have self-control when I'm stressed to not be critical for a full 24 hour period?  I must really have something wrong with me." And then of course the natural woman that I am brushed it off and justified it saying, "I am too stressed!  I'll do it at the new year or something."  Well, it's been about 10 hours since that comment was made by my student and my response given and it has bugged me all day that I had to make an excuse as to why I can't be uncritical for a 24 hour period.  So I'm starting again right now, timer is set and I'm determining, that even among one of the most stressful weeks in the year, that I can go 24 hours, at some point without being critical.

Which brings me back to The Help...what a great book.  What a great way to say, "There is a problem." without saying, "You are all jerks and look at yourselves...." but by going about it in a different way. I think that is why I like to read it. Not only is it so fun to read and well written, it is just a different way of saying the thing we are all thinking or not thinking, but should be thinking, and reminding us of what is important...Human life!

I have been thinking a lot about life lately and have wondered why we have the trials that we do. I was engaged about 2 years ago and went through the most pain I have ever gone through and in that experince I learned what the reason is that we must all experience pain in one way or another; because we are here to grow.  I have talked with different people, from different times in my life this week who have reminded me that we all have our problems. We all suffer in our own way and if we weren't going through the thing we are currently going through, then we would be growing and learning by going through something else, because we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to be fulfilling our purpose here on the Earth which is to grow. I was just reading in 2 Ne 3 and 4 and all the father's blessings that Lehi gives his sons before he dies and he tells them to do what is right, follow their younger brother and they would be blessed.

Laman and Lemuel in the very next chapter rebel and completely are cut off from their brother Nephi.  They will go on to have their trials.  Christ suffered for their sins as He suffered for Nephi's and mine and yours, but the difference is that Nephi too will go his way and have trials.  His trials won't be the same as Laman and Lemuel's because he will need to grow in the way the Lord provides for him to grow, because he is following the Lord.  Both parties have trials, but both parties have different trials, because they both are choosing to live differently.  Nephi's trials will in turn help him grow and learn what the Lord wants him to and after he learns the next thing, the trial will have been useful and be taken away...until Laman and Lemuel come to themselves, their trials will continue to hurt them, because in a way they are self inflicted, because it is true that "wickedness never was happiness" and so they can't be happy and learn from their "trial" as long as they are continuing to live in the unhealthy lifestyle that is not conducive to happiness...so what have I learned?  That when we are faced with a trial, it is better to just learn the thing you are supposed to so you can learn, grow and move on from the pain quicker...but the fun and ironic part (but the part we're here for: to grow) is that yet another trial will come, because if we aren't progressing and growing, we are digressing...so in the end, no matter what there will be trials, but the difference between Laman and Lemuel trials and Nephi's is that though Nephi will continue to have trials until he goes the way of all the Earth, he will continue to learn and grow, rather than be stagnant and digress, because when you put your trust in the Lord, He protects you, blesses you and helps you grow into who you are supposed to become; a child of God, meek, submissive, lowly and you will be happier though sore trials come upon you, because you trusted in the Lord.  In the end the Savior is our "Help".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sometimes life is so fun that you just get to wake up, explore a city, town or country and then come home and write about it.  Other times it's like that, but you're up to ears in things to do like plan Christmas parties, wrap 300 sets of napkins, knives, forks and spoons with a ribbon (thanks Jodee for your help), deliver 210 invitations, meet with the Bishop, get a new calling, do something about life while planning and preparing for your pre-observation interview with your director while kids are coming up to your desk asking if their Christmas card they just made for the homeless and battered women's shelter is good enough and the printer is "offline" and doesn't print your lesson plan and so you go half prepared with your 5 syllabi for all the classes you teach, to your meeting that doesn't go so well, because you're an overemotional wreck all of the time and end up not really talking about things you needed to, but things that have been bugging you, but shouldn't...man I don't get it!  But Then you go get some essential oils and become a DoTerra representative, put on some Oregano, On-Guard and Digestzen after taking a nice shower, have time to read before bed and realize that in a way, you're back to where you were 6 months ago, happy as can be to be alive and have so much to live for...I love my life!  It's up. It's hard and it's what you make of it!  It's all about attitude...I'm working on it and I realize today that the Lord has given me so many things to help me learn and grow that how could I possibly be sad or ungrateful for any day I'm on this Earth, when I know why I'm here, who I am and where I came from and how to get back home.  This holiday Christmas season, I'd like to thank my mom and all my family for loving me, the people I work with for putting up with me, and live my life to the fullest while I learn to live and learn to love when it hurts!  That's why I'm here. It's good to know and it's good to do with so many people who know why we are here and so many who don't, because we are all here to help each other make it back safely. Thanks for loving me enough to help me learn and grow in the process of my mistakes and development.  It's hard, but we aren't here to be perfect, just to grow and become more than we were while we were becoming our today self and working on our tomorrow self.  Thanks for sharing life and love. It's why we're here even though it hurts sometimes. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Photo contest!

I need your help. I am submitting photos to a photo contest. I just found out about it tonight and the submissions are due by noon tomorrow. The rules are: Photos should capture the cultural essence of a global academic experience in the categories of portraits, landscapes, architecture.
So please comment and let me know which ones (I can choose 2) you like the best. Thanks so much.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dreams can come true!!!

It's unreal, but my dream to swim with a dolphin has finally come true!!! How cool is that?  Thanks to  my brother and sister in law who gifted this to me as their going away present! It was so great!  I am not going to lie, I cried after I swam with the dolphin, because it was so unreal and I have looked forward to it for so long! I loved it. I only wish it were longer and that I could have really just swam for a really long time and played with him, but that's okay...I'm grateful for what I got.  A dream to never be forgotten for forever! When you want something bad enough. in some way, shape or form it comes true!

My favorite part!!! Oh man! That was a real smile! I didn't even realize pictures were getting taken. That was pure joy and happiness. I can't even believe that I got to do that! Life is good, let's not ever forget the good things and memories!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prophets and the tree of life...

I just listened to Elder Uchtdorf’s talk…it was exactly what I needed to hear this morning…The Lord knows me. He understands my heart and He guides me along the path I should be on. I am going to read 1 Ne 8 this afternoon. It is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Book of Mormon. I went to a class once and the teacher so profoundly told us that the tree represented the love of God or in other words Christ and he kept on saying, “Where is the tree in your life? Is it behind you? Is it in front of you? It is far away from you? Are you looking toward it and grasping the iron rod to make sure you get to it?” I sometimes ask myself, where is the tree in my life? Where? I always hope I’m close enough to it and am grasping the iron rod so I will keep on the path that will ultimately get me where I want to go. I need to get there, for no other distraction can bring me Joy like being at Jesus’ feet and eternally encircled in the arms of His love.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall...and seasons

I feel like with all the different fall colors, the cold, the fog and the snow, I have been having a lot of interesting emotions. I feel like it is a wonderful blessing to see growth and change and realize that the seasons are a visualisation of what our lives are supposed to be. Spring: renewal of hard things and a breath of fresh air. Summer: fun and enjoyment, a lot of laughter and tasting the beauty of life Fall: beautiful still, crisp and things changing and maybe not going the way that we hoped or expected. Winter: a cold freezing death, but throughout it every now and again a white wonderful snow sparkles with the sun and teaches us that even in the winters of our lives we can learn and grow...and just when we've learned and grown enough for that season, spring comes again to give us renewed hope and life and so the cirlce continues...just some thoughts i've had...I'll add more later! Thought it was time to update and get the growing going!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Video Carl Made of Spain

Oh the memories this brings back!!! What a great day!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Segovia 17 de Julio 2011

We got to Segovia this morning a half hour before church started and so Dendi sat outside of the building working on her pictures.  We find ourselves working, eating and sleeping in many random places! On the road is where you see the best and worst of people!

17 de julio 2011 10:25 de la manana Segovia (en route) Spain

Well it’s been a great couple of days, but a lot of learning because as profe Meredith told us in the culture shock process there comes a period of time when we are near the end and get excited to go home and just get sick of the trip. I have seen this happening all over the place!!! We have been getting on each other’’ nerves much easier than before, but I think when you are with the same people in such tight quarters (and with every city it gets tighter and tighter because of all the stuff we are buying!  I’ve pretty much taken up all the room I’m allowed and more!  I know that’s hard to imagine!)  and it’s been 4 weeks now it is really easy to be impatient, especially when we know we are going home  soon. I just keep trying to think “There’s only a few days left and we need to enjoy it!”  And so when we are getting impatient I ask for “disculpas” and try to be better and kinder!  We only have a few more days left to really enjoy it all so I need to try harder.

Anyway on a lighter note, we have had a ton of fun! 

We have been to so many cities that I am getting confused now.  We just came from Avila today and are in Segovia. We went to church today and there were only a few people that are in the branch. I felt like I was in my second area in the mission, but even there things got better. It is so hard here because the Catholic church is so strong. If you’re not Catholic here you are just weird.  I have learned so much about the Catholic church while being here.  I can imagine why it is a tradition. It goes way back generation after generation.  I am more firm in my testimony than ever of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  It has grown a lot here in the past few years.  I love the way the Lord works.  He puts us where we need to be and I, with a firmness believe that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  I know I was supposed to go on this trip. I was supposed to come to Spain to learn about the country, the people, the culture and about myself and my place in this vast world.  It is amazing to see how many people are looking for truth and how many people are good in the world. I’ve also really enjoyed looking at the differences in culture and realizing that no one is better than the other, we are just different. We are meant to be different and that makes us unique and needed. Just like the hand hath need of the finger and the foot etc…we need each other and the uniqueness we each personally and culturally bring to the world.  I am glad to be where I am in life and know who I am. I am a child of God. He is very conscious of all of His children and will help them to be exactly where they need to be with or without trials.  We will grow in the way we need to as we trust in His hand and guidance through the winding road of experience that life gives us.  I appreciate all the growth I have been able to see and achieve on this trip.  It has really opened up my eyes and every time Sunday rolls around and we are in a different part of Spain and a different Branch or Ward, the truth still comforts me and gives me this overwhelming peace that no matter what happens in life, if we hold onto the iron rod, we will be guided to the next step of life with care and when we stumble we will be able to get up and keep moving if we lean on the Lord.  I testify that Christ lives and He was resurrected  and because he died and lived again, took up his body again, we too can do that and so can our loved ones. 

I take for granted the truths I know and I forget that not everyone in the world knows all the things that I know that are so natural and comforting to me in my daily life.  I know that the resurrection is real and that one day I’ll see my dad again and anyone who has lost a loved one, which are many, will see their loved ones too. I’m grateful for families while I’ve been here.  I’ve been preocupada waiting to find out if my sister has had her baby yet and I’m grateful for my sister Melissa who has gotten back to me to let me know the details while Liz is busy getting ready for her new little one! I’ve been uplifted by emails from my family telling me that they love to read my blog and emails and I’ll do my best to bring back gifts adequate!  The space and weight limits in my luggage are about over capacity as is! 

I am also grateful for friends who lift me and keep me afloat and are patient with me even when I am not the nicest person to be around. I’m grateful in general for forgiveness of imperfections. It’s funny to think that when we judge someone for faults, they are working on their flaws and wish we would pardon them as we wish to be forgiven ourselves.  I have enjoyed this learning process on this trip.  It has been so humbling to experience and watch forgiveness happen.  I have been in awe watching my professor Meredith, who has been through more than one mortal man should have to pass through.  He has rarely been impatient and has given so much so that this could be an unforgettable experience for all of us.  He understands that time is valuable and the things you do during that time are just as valuable as the things you don’t do.  I appreciate him. 

Professor Knapp is an angel sent to my life at this time that I never knew existed.  I have no idea how one person can know so much, be so happy, kind and considerate of everyone she meets.  She is an example of courtesy and fun evenly balanced to a T.  I love her and appreciate the sacrifices she makes for us, especially being here, because her poor kids (though they get to be with their grandparents) don’t get their mom for a month! 

Needless to say, I have had a blast and have learned so much.  It has been unreal!  We are off to go see the aqueduct at night now that we’ve seen it during the day!!!  Life is good! (I got a nap in that is part of the beauty!)

Pretty much the branch minus a few people.

Now the branch with us added!  We doubled its size!  It was awesome we basically had a testimony meeting during sacrament today.  It was just what I needed!  And Prof Meredith gave the lesson in sunday school.

Beautiful Susy before church.

Carl contemplating the whens and wheres of our trip.

First glimpses of the acueduct! I was ecstatic!

I've sure drunk a lot of Fanta Naranja here and also taken a lot of pictures of them!  Do you love the glass?  I do and I am taking 2 home with me!  2 Fun stories to tell about how that came about and free!

Yummy.  Grape leaves with rice in them.  Very Greek. I'm surprised that I didn't have them while in Greece.  Thanks Dendi for helping culture me!  Dendi is amazing and very smart!!!

Pizza Margarita...Dendi told us where cheese pizza came from...Basically a queen in Italy, maybe a princess, decided she wanted cheese on her pizza, because back in the day it was just bread and sauce (like it is uruguay) and after she requested to add cheese, it was a hit and so they named it after her.

We had so much food on our table that we pretty much didn't know what to do with ourselves!

I love this one!

The first time I had to pay money to use the bano!  20 cents! Totally worth it!

Profe Knapp and me! I love that woman!

Profe Knapp doing what she loves to do...read and learn.  We found a street on the map called el poso de Nieves.  Her name is Nieves (which means snow) and Poso means well (like the kind water is in) and she really wants one in her house like Cervantes had!  So I told her we should take this picture to show her husband that there is indeed a Poso de la Nieves and she needs one in her house!!  Good luck in Payson!
In anticipation to arrive in Segovia!! I've been waiting forever for this.  This trip has been so many dreams come true!

This is Santiago (he is pictured above with his dad and super profe) he is the best baby I have ever seen. He just sat there during church and didn't make a peep, only whined a little bit.  He was the cutest thing I've ever seen!